Boys Basketball Stumbles at State



Xavier McCord jumps for the ball at the beginning of a game against Laramie.

Stephani Sommer, Senior Editor

Long practices. Tough games. Critical evaluations. Constant discussion on what they can do better. The East High boys basketball team has been following this regime since November. Why? The team set their sights on the 4A State Title.

“The preparation is a long process,” said Coach Jeff Bailey. “It begins at the end of the last season, evaluating what we can do to win, so we have the entire year to improve.”

However, no matter how much you prepare, things don’t always work in your favor. Sometimes, no amount of preparation guarantees success.
The first day of the 4A state basketball tournament was witness to a major upset, as #4-ranked Kelly Walsh knocked off the Thunderbirds, 53-41, and moved East to the consolation bracket.

“It’s not an easy thing,” said Coach Bailey. “A lot of things have to fall perfectly in place for us to become champions.”

Things began to fit together for the boys early on, being one of the highest ranked teams in the 4A bracket for most of the season. As the year continued on, the team continued their success and won the east conference regional tournament at the beginning of March.

“We just have to continue getting stronger as a team,” explained junior Erik Oliver. “Getting closer and preparing for everything will put us at the top.”
After the opening day loss, the T-Birds then faced Rock Springs and, playing a more aggressive style, took down the Tigers, 81-75.

For their final game, East defeated Natrona County, 69-65, in overtime to finish in 5th place. All-state junior Erik Oliver led the T-Birds with 20 points and seven rebounds.

“Fifth place isn’t exactly what we wanted,” said senior Nick Mirich. “But it was fun to at least get a trophy.”